John Lomax's Southern States Recording Expedition: Brownsville, Texas, 1939
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In the spring of 1939, Texas folklorist John Avery Lomax began his Southern States Recording Expedition, focusing primarily on rural Texas and Louisiana. One of the main goals of this and other recording forays into the South and Southwest by Lomax during the 1930s was to document the musical landscape of the nation as it rapidly transformed from a mostly rural-agrarian society to an increasingly urban-industrial one. In part, Lomax wanted to preserve examples of regional folk music before they were "lost" to the growing commercialization of American music. However, Lomax also had another important goal in mind, and that was to prove that American folk music was distinct from the folk music found in Europe and elsewhere.